Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls meets Mirfield mums

Labour's parliamentary candidate Paula Sherriff and Ed Balls speak with local mum Samantha.
Labour's parliamentary candidate Paula Sherriff and Ed Balls speak with local mum Samantha.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls spent a morning meeting parents at a mums and toddlers group in Mirfield this week.

Mr Balls took a break from campaigning in his Morley and Outwood constituency, discussing cost of living issues with parents at St Andrew’s Methodist Church.

Joined by Dewsbury and Mirfield parliamentary candidate Paula Sherriff , they discussed the challenges faced by local people. This included meeting the rising costs of childcare as well as paying the household bills after years of very little increases in salaries.

Mr Balls, who hopes to become Chancellor after next week’s election, said: “It was great to join Paula and meet such a brilliant group of mums and children in Mirfield this morning – it is clearly a very well run and very popular group.

“The mums we spoke to told us they don’t think the government we’ve had for the last five years has stood up for them nor delivered improvements in their living standards.”

The visit came just minutes after official figures were published showing that GDP (Gross Domestic Product) grew by just 0.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2015.

Mr Balls said: “As this week’s GDP figures show, David Cameron has failed to fix the economy for working families.

“Labour’s plan will earn our way to higher living standards for all, not just a few. We will raise the minimum wage, cut business rates, guarantee apprenticeships for school leavers and expand free childcare for working parents.

“We will start building one million new homes, back renters and give first-time buyers a leg up the ladder by slashing stamp duty.

“And we will cut the deficit every year and balance the books in a fair way, while securing the future of our NHS.”

Dewsbury and Mirfield’s Conservative parliamentary candidate Simon Reevell has hit back at Ed Balls’ visit, claiming it is helping his own campaign.

Mr Reevell, who beat Labour incumbent Shahid Malik to the seat in 2010, said: “As far as I’m concerned, the more Mr Balls and Mr Miliband visit this area, the better.

“We have been campaigning a lot around Mirfield this week, and we have spoken to a lot of people who don’t think much to them.”

He added Mirfield was one of his favourite places to campaign due to the the support he gets.

“I think to say Mirfield is a Tory stronghold suggests we haven’t had support elsewhere, which isn’t true,” he said. “But I do like campaigning here – it is always nice to be in Mirfield, and we get a lot of people coming to our stalls saying ‘good luck’.”

As far as his optimism towards keeping his seat goes, he kept his cards close to his chest.

“Nobody knows what’s going to happen,” he said. “We are in a fight and hope we will win.”